Articles

An Abrupt Ending

In Introductions, Scientology on December 10, 2010 by ryepdx

Being new to the working world, I expected to be around for the 30 days I had said I would be around for. Though I disagreed with the practices of the Church of Scientology, I did like and respect my coworkers and thus did not want to leave them with any of my half-finished code on their hands. I intended to finish up my work in time for the website release and then leave, giving my bosses and coworkers a whole quarter to recover before the push to finish the product updates for the next release got too intense again. I expected to be able to use my lunch breaks during that time to say my goodbyes properly, to find closure before leaving.

Instead I was called in at the end of the week to meet with two of the partners in the company. They tried to get me to stay, telling me I was a very valuable employee, and offering me things like pay raises and three day weekends. It was difficult and rather stressful, but I kept rebuffing them, telling them I would rather start working on my music now instead of waiting three years. For that was, after all, the reason I had given for quitting: to go work on my music. While not at all a lie, it was also not the entire truth. Finally, after an hour or so of this, after I realized my given reasons were not good enough for them, I told them the entire truth. I told them I could not, with a clean conscience, work for an organization that stood to benefit the Church of Scientology.

“Oh,” said the partners, realization lighting up their faces.

“Yeah,” I said, trying to get comfortable with the awkwardness of the situation.

At that point they ceased their overtures and accepted that I was leaving and that there really was nothing they could do about it. They were not hostile at all, though one of them was visibly confused as to how I could come to such a conclusion.

Later that day one of the partners took me aside to tell me that the CFO would be talking with me, but that he had kept my stance on the Church secret and talked the other partner into doing the same. I thanked him for his discretion, glad to see that I had not misplaced my trust in divulging my true reason for leaving.

I was then called in to the CFO’s office, along with the two partners mentioned above and my manager, and told I would not be working there anymore. They said they were letting me go to do my music earlier rather than later but would continue paying me through the notice period, “like a paid vacation.” Though I must say I did not have any problem with getting started with my music and writing right away, it threw me off. Furthermore, I was told not to say a word about any of it to my coworkers until after the Saturday holiday party. I agreed and then left the building as my manager began deleting my e-mail, version control, bug tracking, and building access accounts. I was free, save for the Saturday holiday party and the goodbye party they had planned for me on Monday. It was a weird feeling.

Isn’t that just the way of it? What you wanted most is what you’re most afraid of. Freedom is an exhilarating, cold, lonely feeling sometimes, particularly when that freedom is new. There is nobody around to share in freedom at first, for freeing oneself is undeniably isolating in nature. It normally involves severing connections which not only held you captive, but which also killed loneliness.

But then new connections are made which don’t restrict, which don’t destroy your freedom but which kill loneliness and tie you to certain places and times. And then I find I have to ask what freedom really is in the first place. Is it having the ability to do anything, or is it having the ability to do exactly what I want? As a philosophy professor once said, “is a man bound to a chair free if his only desire is to sit in that chair?”

I find that I do need those connections. I would much rather be bound to certain places and times, assuming those places and times are of my choosing, or at least to my liking, than be unbound and alone. Freedom (or, in light of the above paragraph, disconnectedness) and comfort are at odds and a balance must be found, for too much or too little of one or the other and both will suffer. At least, that’s how I find it.

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4 Responses to “An Abrupt Ending”

  1. Wow! A very well stated position of how you feel right now. I wish i could be as open with my thoughts.

  2. Crazy story. I have to say, you clearly have guts, but I don’t think it’s so smart to put personal details up here. Why don’t you change the city you were born in, etc? Some violent cult member could easily find you, God forbid. I found this article online:
    http://www.holysmoke.org/cos/hotel-of-death.htm
    Havenith is on the list, as well as many others.

    • Thanks. That’s not a bad suggestion, so I’ve done it. I don’t imagine I’ll be able to keep my identity secret for long though, as I’m aiming for fame here. But in the meantime I suppose there’s no reason to give out more information than is necessary.

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